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    ‘Yellowstone’ Origin Story ‘1883,’ Paul Rudd Joins ‘SNL’ Five-Timers Club, ‘Claws’ Final Season, Holiday Toons on Fox

    The Yellowstone prequel 1883 takes us to the truly Wild West. Paul Rudd returns to Saturday Night Live for the fifth time, joining a rarefied club. TNT’s campy melodrama Claws unsheathes its final season. While original series episodes are hard to find this close to Christmas, Fox’s animation lineup is all-new.

    Dawn Olivieri as Claire, Faith Hill as Margaret in 1883

    Emerson Miller/Paramount+

    1883

    SUNDAY: Or: How the Dutton family found its way to Montana in post-Civil War America. Creator Taylor Sheridan’s much-anticipated Yellowstone prequel is a rarity: an honest-to-goodness (or badness as the case may be) TV Western, charting the treacherous journey of Dutton ancestors James and Margaret (real-life husband/wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, both impressive) as they pack up their family and join a wagon train of European immigrants from Texas to the plains. Much is seen through the eyes of their willful 18-year-old daughter Elsa (Isabel May, a find), who relishes the open spaces but soon learns there’s a “horror that hides in freedom’s shadow.” Bandits, disease and other perils await these pioneers. But as long as they’ve got scene-stealing Sam Elliott (as a grizzled guide) on their side, I wouldn’t bet against them. Meanwhile on Yellowstone (Sunday, 8/7c, Paramount Network), that cunning vixen Beth (Kelly Reilly) has a plan for those pesky protestors, and back on the Four-Sixes ranch, Jimmy (Jefferson White) gets closer to the flirtatious vet tech Emily (Kathryn Kelly) after their pungent meet-cute involving an alarmingly erect horse.

    Paul Rudd, Ghostbusters: Afterlife premiere

    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    Saturday Night Live

    SATURDAY: You know you’ve made it to the pantheon when you mark your fifth time as a guest host on the late-night comedy show. The very busy Paul Rudd, whose Apple TV+ series The Shrink Next Door just finished and who also stars in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, joins the Five-Timers Club in the final episode of 2021. Charli XCX returns as musical guest for the second time.

    Saturday Night Live - NBC
    Claws Season 4 cast

    TNT

    Claws

    SUNDAY: The campy melodrama about Florida manicurists who turn to crime to survive is back after more than two years for its fourth and final season. We rejoin Desna (Niecy Nash) as she picks up the pieces after a vengeful Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes) torched the casino. And when the salon’s rent goes way up, her crew embarks on a dangerous new con: stealing from Uncle Daddy’s (Dean Norris) stash of opiates. Suddenly, they’re in a drug war—and guess whose side Quiet Ann is on?

    The Great North Fox Beef Tobin Nick Offerman

    Fox

    The Great North

    SUNDAY: Rare among network shows this time of year, Fox’s animation lineup is all new, starting with The Simpsons (8/7c), in which little Maggie gets a new “Godfather” in Fat Tony. The other shows are more into the holiday spirit, including the charming The Great North, where Beef (Nick Offerman) helps a friend track down a missing Bigfoot costume; Bob’s Burgers (9/8c), in which Gene (Eugene Mirman) and his sibs hunt for a rare 1970s Christmas record after he breaks his own copy; and Family Guy (9;30/8:30c), with Brian the prime suspect when Mayor West’s nativity scene is destroyed.

    The Great North - FOX

    The Yule Spool: It’s a Christmas cavalcade on the last weekend before the actual holiday. A sampling:

    • The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls (Saturday, Hallmark Channel, 8/7c): In a sequel to last year’s fan favorite, TV star Mike Mitchell (Chesapeake Shores’ Robert Buckley) and brother Brandon (Jonathan Bennett) face off in a televised home-decorating competition. Also on Hallmark: ’Tis the Season to Be Merry (Sunday, 8/7c), with Rachael Leigh Cook as a dating expert who stumbles into her own love story in Vermont.
    • When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas (Saturday, 8/7c, GAC Family): Proving there’s life after scandal, Lori Loughlin returns to the When Calls the Heart spinoff, guesting in the two-part Season 2 opener as Abigail Stanton, who arrives in a stagecoach to bring a troubled boy to Lillian’s (Morgan Kohan) orphanage. Also making an appearance: Daniel Lissing, aka the late Mountie Jack Thornton, but just how that happens they’re not saying.
    • Toying with the Holidays (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Heartland’s Cindy Busby is a workaholic designer and single mom who heads home to Holly Pines to slow down and help former high-school classmate Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) restore the town’s North Pole Express train. Also on Lifetime: Under the Christmas Tree (Sunday, 8/7c), a same-sex romance involving marketing whiz Alma (Elise Bauman) and “Christmas tree whisperer” Charlie (Tattiawa Jones), who meet when Charlie finds the perfect tree for Maine’s Governor in Alma’s back yard.
    • Christmas for Keeps (Saturday, 10/9c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): This emotional holiday film reunites childhood friends after 10 years to celebrate the life of their favorite high-school teacher.
    • Holmes for the Holidays (Saturday, 8/7c, HGTV): Celebrity builder Mike Holmes and his extended family engage in a friendly competition over whose home is decked out the best for the holiday.
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): This is your chance to touch base with Charlie Brown and the gang in the immortal holiday special (with that irresistible Vince Guaraldi score), which otherwise is only available on streaming at Apple TV+.
    • Patti LaBelle’s Holiday Party (Sunday, 7/6c, TV One): This should hit anyone’s high note, when the R&B diva welcomes Tamar Braxton for musical festivities.
    • Christmas Takes Flight (Sunday, 8/7c, CBS): The network’s second holiday film in as many weeks stars Scandal’s Katie Lowes as a pilot whose family-owned regional airline is acquired by a profit-minded CEO (Evan Williams) who comes off like a Scrooge—at first.

    Inside Weekend TV:

    • My Dream Kitchen (streaming on discovery+): In separate specials, celebrity chefs Giada De Laurentiis and Carla Hall create the kitchens of their dreams, although building them takes longer than they imagined.
    • Out of Stock: Supply Chain Crisis (Saturday, 8/7c, Discovery): A three-episode docuseries helps explain the breakdown in the global shipping system that has led to empty shelves, higher costs and other shortages during this high-demand time of year.
    • The Sound of Music (Sunday, 7/6c, ABC): The Oscar-winning Rodgers & Hammerstein musical is an annual tradition, with the Alps and Julie Andrews as resplendent as ever as Maria, the spunky novice who brings music into the home of the Trapp family in pre-WWII Austria.
    • Dexter: New Blood (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): Police chief Angela (Julia Jones) hasn’t forgiven Dexter (Michael C. Hall) yet for hiding his true identity. But she could use his forensics expertise to try to nail local businessman Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown), who Dexter already knows to be a secret serial killer, for the cold-case murder of her best friend.

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